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Feds to fund $2.bn for Parramatta-Epping Rail Link

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Prime Minister Gillard announced today that if re-elected, the government will fund $2.bn for Sydney’s Parramatta to Epping Rail Link </span> <p>&nbspBy Jennifer Perry<br />.<br />The government will fund 80%&nbspof the anticipated construction cost of the $2.6bn project, with the&nbspNew South Wales&nbspGovernment investing $520m.</p><p>Funding for&nbspconstruction works on the Parramatta to Epping Rail Link will come from the Nation Building Program 2, commencing in 2014-15.&nbsp</p><p>The project is an important step towards improved transport for Western Sydney, providing the &quotmissing link&quot between Parramatta and Chatswood and improving&nbspcapacity on the Western Line.</p><p>The NSW Government will be required to make this project ready for construction as soon as possible by undertaking the design and taking it through the needed planning and environmental assessments. The government will be required &nbspto work with Infrastructure Australia (IA), which will assess the project and assist in its effective delivery.</p><p>The project&nbspwas not included in&nbspIA’s recent second National Infrastructure Priorites report.</p><p>The governmetn hs effectively &quotresurrected&quot a 20-year-old concept that involves duplicating the old Carlingford line and adding a tunnel on each end. It is considered by some in the industry to be a slow route.</p><p>The <em>Sydney Morning Herald’s</em> recent Independant Inquiry that created a long term public transport plan for Sydney recommended a Merrylands-Parramatta-Epping line, with a different alignment to the government’s proposal.</p><p>The inquiry recommended converting the existing Carlingford line to light rail between Carlingford and Parramatta, developing the line under Pennant Hills road, with the heavy rail alignment potenitally a much faster underground route.</p><p>In announcing the funding for the Parramatta to Epping Rai lLink today, the government said that extensive planning work has already been undertaken&nbspand it&nbspis anticipated preconstruction activities could commence in 2011.&nbsp<br />&nbspKey points of the project include:</p><ul><li>the 14km link involves upgrading five stations at Parramatta, Telopea, Dundas, Rydalmere, and Carlingford, and a new station at Rosehill-Camellia</li><li>directly linking Sydney’s second CBD of Parramatta with employment centres of the North West such as Macquarie Park, North Ryde, and Chatswood</li><li>reducing journey time to Chatswood from Parramatta, by rail, by about 25 minutes and</li><li>improving the development of the Western Express Services between Western Sydney and the City by increasing capacity on the Western Line.<br />&nbsp<br /><br />&nbsp</li></ul><p>&nbsp</p><p>&nbsp</p><p>&nbsp</p><p>&nbsp</p><p><br />&nbsp<br /><br />&nbsp<br /><br />&nbsp<br />There is no quick fix to Sydney’s transport problems, but this funding will enable the construction of this project to be brought forward.<br />&nbsp<br />Completion of the project will be targeted for 2017. <br />&nbsp<br />Federal Labor will also have Infrastructure Australia work with the NSW Government to explore private financing options for the M5 East widening and the F3 to M2 upgrade. <br />&nbsp<br />The widening of the M5 East builds on the long term planning initiated and funded by Federal Labor in its first budget, in partnership with the NSW Government. <br />&nbsp<br />The M5 corridor is the main freight, commercial and passenger route between Port Botany, Sydney Airport, and south west Sydney. The M5 East tunnel carries some 95,000 vehicles per day, with congestion issues impacting heavily on Sydney’s economic productivity and competitiveness.<br />&nbsp<br />It is clear that the M5 needs widening and Federal Labor will make available the expertise of Infrastructure Australia to progress this project.<br />&nbsp<br />The F3 to M2 upgrade will be a new link between the F3 and the Sydney Orbital, with a preferred alignment for an upgrade being the corridor along Pennant Hills Road. This is Sydney’s major freight and commuter route going north.<br />&nbsp<br />These projects have been identified in the NSW Government’s Metropolitan Transport Plan, and are part of the integrated transport plan for Sydney. <br />&nbsp<br />Through the current Nation Building Program, Federal Labor has budgeted $150 million for planning work for the F3 to M2.<br />&nbsp<br />The cost of maintaining and expanding Sydney’s road and rail network is too great a task for any one government. Genuine partnership and sustainable long term plans are required.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp <br />&nbsp<br />The former Coalition Government did not invest a dollar in public transport infrastructure during their 12 years in office, and did not invest in the sustainable development of our cities.&nbsp <br />&nbsp<br />Federal Labor is investing $12 billion to improve transport in New South Wales through the first Nation Building Program, including the Northern Sydney Freight Line and widening of the F5 near Campbelltown.<br />&nbsp</p>